Showing posts from October, 2014

Book Review: It's All News to Me

So this is a slightly different review for me.  While we were on holiday in the summer we picked up Jeremy Vine's autobiography and I've just now finished reading it.

It's really an autobiography focused on his 25 years at the BBC including his time as a political correspondent, an African correspondent, a Newsnight presenter and how he replaced Jimmy Young on Radio 2.

He has very little focus on his personal life, with just occasional asides about it.  In fact, his main aim seems to be to draw journalistic lessons from his experiences, which he characterises a rules - some more serious than others.

Now the reality is you can go into any charity shop (as we did) and buy any number of modern-day autobiographies.  The big question is whether they are worth reading or not.

Let me suggest a few reasons why this might be.

The media and especially the BBC are pretty important in 21st Century Britain.  Having an informed insider cast a light on it is useful and interesting.Vine h…

How much should I work as a minister?

One of the questions that has troubled me ever since I started in "full-tine" ministry is: how much ministry I should be doing each week?  It's ironic that as I was thinking about writing this blog, I was ill (again), probably at least partly because I was tired (again), probably at least partly because I was too busy (again!).

When I started in ministry, at times it felt like it was a competition as to who could do the most work.  People would quote "better to burn out than rust out" (which for some reason I though was from Robert Murray M'Cheyne, although it seems to actually be Neil Young!  Although William C. Burns seems to have said something similar).  And plenty it seemed were burning out!

I can remember being taught from the following verse:

For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Colossains 1:29 ESV)

and feeling the challenge to work hard (and in reliance on God).  However, that verse doesn't really …

Future Church of England: The Diocese of Manchester and the LGBT Agenda in the Church of England

So everyone knows after the Pilling Report and the events that have followed (including clergy entering gay marriages and various bishops pronouncements) that gay marriage and the LGBT agenda in particular are the next incendiary issue in the Church of England.

I'm not aiming to explain the case for why biblical Christians both want to show the love and grace of Christ to LGBT people and also reject homosexual practice and marriage.  For good information on that see the Bishop of Birkenhead's dissenting statement in the Pilling Report and the Living Out website.

I just wanted to highlight a couple of stories sent out by the Diocese of Manchester recently.  See below, which are directly copied and pasted from the enews email.  Please pray that our diocesan bishop would be faithful.  Please pray for faith ministers in the diocese. and how we should act.

OUT! at the Cathedral
A special service celebrating Manchester's diverse LGBT community will be held in Manchester Cathedr…

Urban Ministry and Your Children

I've recently been reading what is so far an excellent book by Tim Chester and Ed Moll called Gospel Centred Family.

The first chapter is based on Ephesians 6:1-4, which includes the rather challenging v.4:
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (ESV)The second chapter, entitled Gospel-Centred Hopes, focuses on Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and has a particular challenge to Christian parents that our priorities are not to nurture middle-class children, but children who believe in Jesus.  Let me quote at length:
"I've often heard people say they would consider living in the city, but they're concerned about their children's influences and education.  But that begs the question: what do you want for your children?  If you want them to be middle-class, prosperous and respectable, then live in a leafy suburb, send them to a good school and keep them away from messed-up people.  But if you want …

Future Church of England: The Parachuted Pastor

In the last blog, I wrote a little about the odd state of affairs in the Church of England where we seem to be developing a model of ministry which is the wrong way round.  Instead of a plurality of elders for each church, we have a plurality of churches for each elder.

Something I think is linked to that is the problem of the parachuted pastor.  I'm not sure, but it seems to me that the elders to be appointed in Titus 1:5 would mostly be locals and already a part of the church.  Now I know that Paul sometimes parachuted leaders in (like Titus), but I think it's unlikely that the majority of the leaders of churches in NT times came from outside.  However, in the Church of England (and plenty of other denominations) that is what happens, to the point where curates are often not allowed to go back to their home churches.

Now I'm sure there will be those who can list the problems of being a home-grown elder, but I want to suggested six weaknesses (feel free to add more!), wh…

Future Church of England: A Plurality of Elders or a Plurality of Churches

Something I learnt quite early in ministry training was that the New Testament pattern for church leadership was plural.  That is, when the eldership is referred to, there is no concept of the one-man band - the pastor or minister of a church.  So you find, for example, in Titus 1:5:

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you The implication is that each church has multiple elders.  My impression is that this idea has gained traction among evangelicals, who have been challenged about the error of one-man band approaches that dominated in the 20th Century.

Something I've reflected on recently, is the irony of the current Church of England practice, which instead of placing a plurality of elders in a church, gives an elder a plurality of churches.  Most ministers now oversee anywhere between two and twenty-odd churches.

Now because that clearly doesn't work, what actually happens is that some…